House panel approves bill curbing incentive pay

A House panel on Tuesday voted to set new restrictions on corporate pay. Shareholders will be allowed to cast non-binding votes on executive pay and special pay packages when there are changes in corporate control, according to Reuters. Regulators will also be empowered to ban pay structures that encourage inappropriate risks by financial institutions that could affect their soundness, the economy or financial stability. The bill, which is opposed by Republicans, was approved in a 40-28 party-line vote.

Federal Regulator pushes for limits in energy markets

Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said Tuesday that the federal agency must seriously consider setting strict position limits in the energy markets, to avoid excessive speculation. Gensler has said he thinks speculation by investors contributed to the spike in oil prices last year.

US home prices post a rise for the first time in three years

Home prices have seen their first monthly increase in nearly three years, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report published Tuesday. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index rose 0.5 percent from April, the first monthly gain since July 2006 and biggest since May of the same year, the group said today in New York.

BofA has yet to decide on Branch closings

Bank of America on Tuesday responded to conflicting reports of the number of banking centers the bank is expected to cut. The bank said in a statement that it continually evaluates its banking franchise but a decision about its ultimate size has not been made.

Consumer confidence drops

Consumer confidence about business conditions and the labor market fell more than expected in July, according to a new report. The consumer confidence index stood at 46.6, down from 49.3 in June, according to a report this morning by the New York-based Conference Board.

Top futures exec urges caution on market rule changes

Measures to regulate markets often fail to reach their objectives and could lead to unintended consequences that the market could find, the chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange told Reuters on Tuesday. He said the Commodities Futures and Trading Commission could increase market volatility and distort pricing functions unless its measures were thoroughly vetted.

Courts approve Nortel wireless sale to Ericsson

The $1.13 billion sale of Nortel Networks' prized wireless assets to Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson received the blessing of Canadian and U.S. courts on Tuesday, with a U.S. bankruptcy judge praising the bidding process. Read Full Article here.
IBM to buy tech software company for $1.2 Bln

IBM Corp. said Tuesday it plans to acquire SPSS Inc., a technology services company that helps businesses predict future trends and observe consumer patterns and behavior, for $1.2 billion. SPSS shareholders will receive $50 a share, a 42 percent premium to Monday's closing price of $35.09 on Nasdaq, according to a company statement. Read Full Article here.

Viacom Inc Profit Falls

Viacom Inc, the New York-based media company, reported that profit in the second quarter fell 32 percent to $277 million, or 46 cents per share. Excluding charges, it earned 49 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations, according to Reuters Estimates. Revenue was down 14 percent to $3.3 billion, a fall greater than expected.

BP 2Q profit drops 53 %

Oil giant BP Plc reported Tuesday its net replacement cost profit declined 53 percent in the second quarter totaling $2.92 billion, but it surpassed analysts' forecast of $2.81 billion, according to Reuters. The decline was due to lower crude and gas prices and weaker refining margins.